This is what it looks like seven hours before go time,” my guide tells me, gesturing at the gathered chaos. “It may still look like this in six.”
The reason the time matters is that The Post Brewing Company is preparing for the first night of its soft opening on Monday, Jan. 6. The public will be welcome on Thursday, Jan. 9. But right now, The Post’s look is best described as ladder chic, with messes of construction equipment occupying much of the former VFW Hall in old town Lafayette. A grizzled old hand is belting out “Without You” by Badfinger as he lords over a bartop covered in drill bits.
When they’re finished with the year of work it took to get the place running — approximately six hours and 45 minutes from now — The Post will be something of a modernist lodge, balancing the industrial gleam of the brew tanks and exposed ductwork with a mounted buck’s head and lighting made from salvaged logs. A large Big Buck Hunter video game console sits next to the pool table. An enormous patio more than doubles the available seating, and the front of the restaurant will offer pre-packed and to-go market style food items.
What sort of items? The official concept for The Post is simple: “beer and chicken.” Buckets and buckets of chicken.
“The burger has been done,” Cherice Engel, The Post’s marketing maven, tells me. “No one does chicken anymore.”
She giggles as she points out the restaurant’s tagline printed on T-shirts at the front: “Hot chicken loves cold beer.”
They’re even chickening out back in the brew room.
“They [the beers] need to be interesting and engaging and go well with chicken,” brewmaster Bryan Selders says. “It’s really important to me that when people come in to visit us that it comes together as one cohesive story. It would be easy to make a bazillion different beers that are way out there but don’t go with anything, and I don’t want to do that.”
Selders came to The Post after a stint at Dog Fish Head Brewing in Delaware, where he also co-starred in the short-lived reality TV show Brew Masters on Discovery Channel. Engel says “he’s kind of a big deal.”
Selders says there will be four core beers and several rotating taps. He’s especially excited about Lil’ Buddy, his interpretation of a British bitter using a dwarf variety of hops called azacca.
“It smells like mangoes and tastes like chicken,” he says. Chicken.
The beers brewed at The Post will also be distributed to the other restaurants in the Big Red F restaurant group, which includes The Bitter Bar, The West End Tavern, Zolo Grill and Jax Fish House.
Engel says that Big Red F always wanted to do a brewery, but held back on it because to stand out as a brewery in Colorado you need to be “holy-shit good.” But she says once the company found Selders, they knew they had what they needed. Big Red F then moved chef Brett Smith over to The Post from Zolo Grill to put together the menu, slapped a few deer heads on the wall and proclaimed The Post Brewing Company ready to open on Jan. 9.
Satisfied with the tour and convinced it’s probably worth my time to come back once The Post is actually open and I can balance the taste of sawdust with a nice lager, I make my way towards the door and promptly slam my shin into a chair.
“Careful,” Engel tells me. “It’s a construction zone.”